2020 PGA Championship picks, odds: Expert predictions, favorites to win at TPC Harding Park

With the 102nd PGA Championship fast approaching, the key question everyone is asking is the same across the golf world: Who are you picking to win at TPC Harding Park? With a tremendous field featuring 95 of the top 100 golfers in the world along with plenty of PGA of America amateurs, the first and only major of the 2019-20 season should be an epic ride from Thursday’s first round onward.

The storylines are plentiful this week. Brooks Koepka is looking to become the first golfer to win three straight PGA Championships since the 1920s, while Justin Thomas hopes to continue his tremendous play not only this season but at this tournament. Some of the biggest names — Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson — are still trying to find their grooves, and of course, Jordan Spieth is attempting to complete the career grand slam at an event that has given him difficulty in the past.

So what is going to happen later this week in San Francisco? Let’s take a look at a full set of predictions and picks from our CBS Sports. Check out a full set of odds via William Hill Sportsbook along with the tee times for Thursday’s first round.

2020 PGA Championship expert picks, predictions

Kyle Porter, golf writer

Winner — Justin Thomas (10-1): It’s very frontrunner-y of me to take the No. 1 player in the world coming off the 13th win of his astounding career, but hear me out. Thomas is playing arguably the best golf of his life, and this field will probably be reduced to the eight or nine longest guys. Thomas is among them, and he is hitting the ball better than anyone since the PGA Tour restarted. Also, he missed last year’s PGA Championship, which means he’s finished first and T6 in his last two.

Sleeper — Scottie Scheffler (80-1): A premium ball-striker who hit it great at TPC Southwind last week. He probably can’t roll with the biggest names on a Sunday in contention, but he’s among the best players from tee to green in the world. That’s worth an 80-1 look.

Top 10 lock — Brooks Koepka: I can’t believe I’m doing this given that I more or less declared him dead a month ago, but his last two weeks’ worth of ball-striking have been astounding. The formula is in place, too. In each of his previous PGA Championship wins, he finished in the top five the weekend before (he finished T2 on Sunday in Memphis).

Star who definitely won’t win — Dustin Johnson: I can’t trust him! He goes 80-80-78 and then finishes T12 at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational. I worry that this tournament is going to turn into Bethpage redux (where he thrived!), but if I had to bet against one of the top five guys in the world, it would be him. 

Top 5 in order: Justin Thomas, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm

Surprise prediction: Tiger Woods contends on the weekend. That might be unexpected because he hasn’t played much and he didn’t play particularly well last time out at the Memorial Tournament. Look a little closer, though. He hit the ball really well, and all that needed cleaning up was his short game. I don’t think he’s going to win this tournament, but I do think he has the goods to get in the mix over the final two rounds and make it a little interesting.

Lowest round: 64 (-6)
Winning score: 270 (-10)
Winner’s Sunday score: 68 (-2)


Chip Patterson, writer

Winner — Brooks Koepka (10-1): I love Koepka’s confidence coming out of Memphis, where he backed up his decision off the tee on 18. “You’re one back, you’ve got to take an aggressive line there. I’m not going to bail out in those bunkers,” he said after the round. Koepka indicated that everything is moving in the “right direction” heading into this week at TPC Harding Park. His knee seems to be giving him less trouble, and at a course that will have penal rough like Bethpage Black, I think his strength to get up out of it will power a similar result and a three-peat for Koepka at the PGA Championship. 

Sleeper — Harris English (150-1): At 31, English has tapped into something that has him playing some of his best golf in years. He’s got three straight top-20 finishes in his last three starts, and what I like about him at TPC Harding Park are his ball-striking and ability to avoid the big number. English ranks No. 16 on the PGA Tour in strokes gained tee-to-green and No. 1 in bogey avoidance, which will come in handy with so many potential pitfalls around the course through the week. 

Top 10 lock — Xander Schauffele: There just aren’t a lot of holes to his game, and he seems to bring his best stuff on some of the biggest stages. Schauffele has five top-six finishes in just 11 major starts, and while the book on him is mostly waiting for a breakthrough and more winning, he’s one of the best bets in the field as a top-10 lock. 

Star who definitely won’t win — Bryson DeChambeau: TPC Harding Park will provide several risk reward opportunities with two drivable par-4s and the temptation of aggressive lines as the course’s holes dogleg around each other. We crowned DeChambeau the eventual PGA Championship winner when he debuted his bomber style, but recent weeks have shown the other side of that swing speed obsession when the accuracy isn’t dialed in. DeChambeau may contend, but I think the Cypress trees and thick rough keep him from nabbing that first major. 

Top 5 in order: Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm, Patrick Cantlay, Justin Thomas, Tony Finau

Surprise prediction: Jordan Spieth finishes higher on the leaderboard than Rory McIlroy. Neither of these superstars finds themselves in top form at the moment, but while McIlroy was the No. 1 player in the world and white hot prior to the shut down, it’s Spieth who might have a motivational edge. Spieth scored well at Bethpage Black without playing all that well, and the inconsistencies in his game is more suited to grinding through some up and down rounds. Consider it an exercise in expectation management, where it might be tough for McIlroy to stay locked in if he doesn’t have the goods while Spieth is in a permanent state of figuring things out when he doesn’t have the goods. 

Lowest round: 63 (-7)
Winning score: 268 (-12)
Winner’s Sunday Score: 69 (-1)

Who will win the PGA Championship, and which long shots will stun the golfing world? Visit SportsLine now to see the projected leaderboard, all from the model that’s nailed six golf majors and is up more than $8,000 since the restart.


Kyle Boone, writer

Winner — Bryson DeChambeau (11-1): Make all the Beefy Bryson jokes you want, but his driving length and strokes gained off the tee both rank first on the PGA Tour this season. It’s been a decided advantage for him all year and played a huge role in him cruising to a win last month at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. If he can avoid fire ants at TPC Harding Park, there’s no reason to think he won’t be able to use that edge on a short course and power his way into a career-best finish in the event.

Sleeper — Phil Mickelson (80-1): Lefty hasn’t missed a cut in his last four events and is coming off a T2 finish at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational in which he played loose and was rolling it well on the greens. If he picks up where he left off in Memphis, this course should cater to his strengths.

Top 10 lock — Patrick Cantlay: Cantlay finished T3 at the PGA Championship last season, and he’s already got six top-20 finishes under his belt this season, including a T7 outing at the Workday Charity Open last month. He’s been the model of consistency on tour. There’s no bigger lock than betting on the California native to return to his home state and contend for his first major championship in his home state.

Star who definitely won’t win — Tiger Woods: Tiger’s first competitive outing since the pandemic at the Memorial Tournament last month was unfortunately a reminder of how a weekend can crumble for him. He battled back pain and narrowly avoided the cut line, limping to a T40 finish and a final-round 76. If his back holds up for the entire weekend, he should be in the thick of it on Sunday. But that’s a real question these days.

Top 5 in order: Bryson DeChambeau, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Patrick Cantlay, Brooks Koepka

Surprise prediction: DeChambeau and Koepka comprise the final pairing on Sunday after trading verbal jabs in recent weeks, and DeChambeau gets the last laugh on the back-to-back PGA Champion by pulling away in the final round.

Lowest round: 63 (-7)
Winning score: 267 (-13)
Winner’s Sunday score: 67 (-3)


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